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Cavalry looking for a rescue in finals berth bid

Date

Jon Tuxworth

Adelaide Bite catcher Dylan Child catches the third strike of Canberra Cavalry batter Michael Wells to end the game.

Adelaide Bite catcher Dylan Child catches the third strike of Canberra Cavalry batter Michael Wells to end the game. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Canberra Cavalry are fast becoming the Australian Baseball League's heart-attack team, and for all the wrong reasons.

Canberra's 7-6 home loss to struggling Adelaide on Saturday is the fifth time in six losses this season they've gone down by a single run.

While they have also won three games by the barest of margins, it's a statistic that is frustrating the Cavalry in their quest for a breakthrough finals berth.

After thrashing the bottom-placed Bite 8-2 on Friday night, the Cavalry (6-6) were expected to repeat the dose against an opponent that had won just three of its previous 11 matches. But a two-run home run from Adelaide's Justin Howard in the last inning, staring down the barrel of two strikes and two outs, proved the difference.

It was a golden opportunity missed for the Cavalry, who are in fifth spot but just one game behind second spot.

Canberra took the lead in the first inning of the seven-inning contest when in-form Ryan Stovall hit a solo home run over left field.

But Adelaide replied immediately in the second innings, with home runs from Angus Roeger and Nathan Melendres putting the visitors on top 3-1.

The Bite's advantage was extended to three when Stefan Welch scored off a ground out in the third innings.

Canberra got back in the game through a home run to KC Hobson in the fourth inning.

Three further runs in the fifth, including a single from Hobson to send Ben Warner home, gave the Cavalry a 5-4 lead.

However, Roeger's second run of the match in the sixth inning squared the ledger with an inning to play.

And when Howard's fly-ball sailed over the left-field fence, the Cavalry's run of near misses continued.

Five home runs were registered in an entertaining contest, with Hobson's strike ending the designated hitter's recent slump.

Named the league's player of the week after a strong season-opening series against Sydney, Hobson has struggled since. He registered three hits from four at-bats on Saturday, but he'd give it back for a Cavalry win. ''Right now it's tough not winning those one-run games,'' he said.

On Saturday night, the Cavalry bounced back to beat Adelaide 6-3.

Down 3-0 for much of the contest, Canberra nailed six unanswered runs in the seventh inning to ensure victory.

 

AT A GLANCE

ABL: Adelaide 7 bt Canberra 6; Canberra 6 bt Adelaide 3 (Canberra leads four-game series 2-1).

SUNDAY

Canberra v Adelaide at Narrabundah Ballpark, 1pm.

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